Broody Hen Question

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Pasha1, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. Pasha1

    Pasha1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 5 buff orpington hens with a rooster. I want to see if they could hatch their own eggs. I am doing a bunch in an incubator, but thought it would be neat to let the girls try.

    Any tips for what I need to do? How long should I leave eggs in the boxes waiting for someone to sit on them? If they don't get broody should I toss the eggs or are they still edible. I haven't collected eggs in about 3 days in hopes that all I need to do is leave them alone and the hens will do the rest.
     
  2. Pinky

    Pinky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Use golf balls or fake eggs, that way you won't waste any real eggs. Wait for the hen to sit for at least two days and then put some eggs under her.
     
  3. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

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    Well I have wooden eggs in the boxes 24/7. I can't say it helps though. Far as I know they go when they feel like it. They're unpredictable and then too there's no guarantee they will be successful at hatching. Can't really time hatches when you use a broody.

    I hope you get what you wish for.

    Rancher
     
  4. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a theory...a sufficient size clutch has to accumulate before a hen decides to set the eggs. With my tiny bantams, the clutch size was about 6 eggs. Just like clockwork, once there were that many eggs in a nest, one of the hens would settle in over them to incubate.

    The larger, standard size hens probably set a larger clutch. I don't have standards, so I have no idea what a typical clutch size would be. So if you try using fake eggs, make sure you put a bunch in there and see if that helps. 12? 15?
     
  5. Pasha1

    Pasha1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks everyone. Just a couple new questions... so I put in fake eggs, wait for one to go broody and then swap those for real eggs? I read a chicken clutch size is about 12 eggs so would just have to play with it. As far as the eggs... is collecting them and storing them like my eggs for incubating ok and if after a couple days no one goes broody put them in my incubator ok?

    I am still slightly confused but get the idea the hen doesn't care whose eggs they are? They will just sit on a big enough pile? Have Storey's guide... rather read my blueray instructions. lol It's too technical for this newbie.
     
  6. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Yes, hens don't care whose eggs they sit on. A flock will lay in a communal nest and then when there are enough eggs, one hen will begin to incubate them, often the highest ranking hen. It makes sense, because if all the hens contribute to the nest, a clutch accumulates much more quickly (and the eggs are fresher when the hen begins to incubate them) than if each hen built up her own, separate clutch.

    Eggs can stay viable for up to about a week before beginning incubation, either by a hen or in an artificial incubator. Longer storage than that tends to reduce the hatch rate. Here's a link about storage:

    http://poultrykeeper.com/common-art...ncubation-hatching/storing-hatching-eggs.html

    When I raised chicks last spring, I went the simplest route. I just stopped collecting eggs and let nature take its course. I did remove eggs from one of our broodies and replace them with hatching eggs I'd gotten from a breeder of Belgian d'Uccles, because we wanted some of those. The little hen who hatched that clutch didn't mind the "foreign" eggs at all.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Pasha1

    Pasha1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Yes, hens don't care whose eggs they sit on. A flock will lay in a communal nest and then when there are enough eggs, one hen will begin to incubate them, often the highest ranking hen. It makes sense, because if all the hens contribute to the nest, a clutch accumulates much more quickly (and the eggs are fresher when the hen begins to incubate them) than if each hen built up her own, separate clutch.

    Eggs can stay viable for up to about a week before beginning incubation, either by a hen or in an artificial incubator. Longer storage than that tends to reduce the hatch rate. Here's a link about storage:

    http://poultrykeeper.com/common-art...ncubation-hatching/storing-hatching-eggs.html

    When I raised chicks last spring, I went the simplest route. I just stopped collecting eggs and let nature take its course. I did remove eggs from one of our broodies and replace them with hatching eggs I'd gotten from a breeder of Belgian d'Uccles, because we wanted some of those. The little hen who hatched that clutch didn't mind the "foreign" eggs at all.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/32217_051.jpg

    Fabulous. It's been 3 days since I collected eggs. I moved them all into one nestbox and will see if anyone comes along. Temp here has been good for it. Will cross my fingers and see. I think if mama is doing it I won't be stressing as much as I am now with 7 eggs out of an 18 staggered batch in the hatcher on day 20. lol
     
  8. Pasha1

    Pasha1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I moved all the eggs into one nest box yesterday was about 14 eggs. Counted but it was a pile and I always miss something when counting a pile. lol This am I went out to the coop and I have a hen sitting on the eggs... oh forgot to mention. We have 3 nest boxes. One doesn't ever get used and that's where I put the eggs. (figured it would help me determine if somethings up) She fluffed up and made a noise but I didn't want to scare her off so stayed back. I will check this afternoon and see if she is still there. Fingers crossed.

    Do you think those eggs that were in the boxes will be ok since I didn't store them bottom end up (temp outside is great for storing and we are humid)? If she does decide to stay there anyway. She might just be adding to the pile? Which was huge. Why would she lay an egg there. lol I can still save eggs and store them end up if thats really going to effect things that much. But I would think nature didn't take plan for chickens to turn their eggs end up before they decide to sit on them.

    Opinions appreciated.
     

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